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Lebanon Asks US to Mediate Demarcation of Maritime Border with Israel

Lebanon Asks US to Mediate Demarcation of Maritime Border with Israel

Saturday, 11 May, 2019 - 08:00
Bassil visited Berri on Friday (NNA)
Beirut - Khalil Fleihan

Lebanon renewed on Friday its request for US mediation in the demarcation of its maritime border with Israel to protect its rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Such a request was initially made during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Beirut a few months ago.

However, several question marks have been raised on Washington’s ability to carry out that role, and whether it would task Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfiled to complete his mission after several Lebanese officials expressed reservations on dealing with him, accusing him of being biased to Israel.

An official aware of the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was still early to predict whether the US would play the role of the “the honest mediator.”

However, the official said that Washington would definitely take into consideration security concerns, knowing that Lebanon would react against any Israeli aggression on its offshore resources.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh to discuss ideas presented a day earlier by President Michel Aoun to US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard on Beirut’s maritime border dispute with Israel.

"We coordinated such position in order to preserve our rights in the sea and on land," the FM said.

According to the official, Richard heard a unified position concerning Lebanon’s maritime border demarcation proposal.

Asharq Al-Awsat learned that Beirut has demanded that Israel recognizes Lebanon’s maritime rights on its Exclusive Economic Zone, and not just the Hoff line, which calls for Lebanon to acquire 550 square kilometers of a disputed triangular area, and consider the rest as part of Israeli territorial waters.

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